By Lyn Jensen, Reporter
Music fans, here is your chance to go retro and spend happy hours digging through record store bins. Five old-time rockin’ record stores in Long Beach and San Pedro offer a chance to give the gift of music, in a variety of media —
33 ½ revolutions per minute, 45 rpm, compact discs and even a few cassette tapes. You’ll also find holiday music to give you a soundtrack for the season. So get out there and hop from store to store to find collectibles, DVDs and shirts, along with surprise finds that only come from old-fashioned store shopping.
On First Thursday at San Pedro’s Artwalk, JDC Records is having a grand opening of its vinyl record retail store.
Jim Callon of JDC Records brought their record distributorship back to San Pedro two years ago after spending almost 20 years in Hermosa Beach on Pier Avenue. Music fans will remember JDC Records. Callon’s original location was on Pacific Avenue across from Fort MacArthur, before it moved to 5th Street.
When JDC Records moved to its current digs in downtown San Pedro on 6th Street, its massive inventory of vinyl was available only to those willing to search through vinyl records, cassette tapes and CD stacked ceiling high. They were accessible through the backdoor entrance off the alley. On Dec. 1, Callon is opening the retail end of JDC Records, where lovers of high fidelity music can come through the front door to search through organized album stacks.
Jim Callon is happy to be back in his hometown.
Time: 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Mon. through Fri., and Sat. until 4 p.m.
Details: (424) 264-5335
Venue: JDC Records, 447 W. 6th St, San Pedro
The Grand Emporium
The Grand Emporium is another retail store that sells vinyl records, CDs, cassettes, books and collectible memorabilia thoughtfully selected and organized by proprietor Chuck Klaus. Random Lengths News will be publishing a feature on this unique store in the coming edition.
Time: 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday through Saturday
Details: (310) 514-8429
Venue: The Grand Emporium, 323 W. 7th St., San Pedro
You’ll find about 3,400 new and used records — vinyl LPs — in the heart of Retro Row, a collection of several blocks of indy storefront businesses. Gary Farley opened Third Eye in Costa Mesa in 2002 and later relocated to Retro Row.
“When my job ended as general manager for a local retail store, I decided to turn my passion for music and record collecting into a career and have been enjoying the experience ever since,” Farley recalled.
He said that millennials, who can’t remember the days before CDs, are now seeking out the analog recording technology their parents and grandparents know and love. They come to Third Eye for that experience.
“I am always seeking record collections and music memorabilia (including shirts and posters) and pay cash or offer credit,” Farley said.
Third Eye has long had a reputation as a source for imports, local music, punk and hard-to-find items. Listening stations are available so you may try before you buy. Other perks include a delivery service (add $5 to your order) and cleaning records (for 25 cents each).
Time: 12 p.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Sunday
Details: (714) 415-9814; thirdeyerecordshop.com
Venue: Third Eye, 2234 4th St., Long Beach
Steve Mintz is the owner of Bagatelle Records, a landmark in Long Beach.
“I carry all categories of music, not so much new, mostly used and collectible,” he said.
He buys and stocks some CDs, but he’s mostly looking for old-fashioned phonograph records — be they 78, 45 or 33-1/3 rpm. Visitors will find the store front’s 1,000 square feet crammed full with bins of 45s, LPs, 78s, 12-inch singles, CDs, and some music memorabilia — about 40,000 items in stock at any one time.
Bagatelle started out as a “junk store” in 1974, Mintz remarked, but it soon became a record shop. In 1977, the shop moved to its current location just south of Third Street.
Be prepared to spend some time browsing and digging in the two aisles that are less than a yard wide. Want to sample before you buy? There’s an in-store listening station.
Time: 11a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Monday through Saturday
Details: bagatellerecords.com, (562) 432-7534
Venue: Bagatelle Records, 260 Atlantic Ave., Long Beach
You’ll have to visit Fingerprints under the neon guitar in Long Beach’s Arts District to see the full range of holiday gift possibilities. Its stock ranges from records to apparel, guitar straps, storage crates, memorabilia and incense. This comfortably large store in the downtown arts district stocks thousands of old-school vinyl LPs, alongside tens of thousands of CDs, DVDs, 45s — even some cassette tapes. (There used to be VHS tapes, too, but alas, no more.) You may also sell your used LPs, DVDs, and CDs for in-store credit.
With enough floor space for just about every genre and music medium, lovingly used collectables mingle with the latest releases. Many of them are sealed copies, the preferred choice for gifts. Country fans will be surprised with sealed LPs by such contemporary stars as Kellie Pickler, Willie Nelson and Lyle Lovett. If you’re in a Woodstock frame of mind, you may prefer to trip out on collectable vinyl rarities, including maybe, just maybe, that certain Beatles LP still in shrink wrap. Punks, there’s something completely different for you too, perhaps a new and unused shrink-wrapped copy of Patti Smith’s Horses LP.
Time: 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday through Saturday
Venue: Fingerprints, 420 E. 4th St., Long Beach